Just days after actor Ed Skrein exited Lionsgate's Hellboy reboot, due to concerns over "whitewashing," the project has added yet another member to its cast. Penelope Mitchell (Hemlock Grove) has just signed on to play a witch named Ganeida. It remains unclear if the studio is actively seeking actors to replace Ed Skrein, who backed out of the Major Ben Daimio role upon learning that the original character in the comics is a Japanese-American man.
Deadline reports that Ganeida is an elder witch who decides that the reign of terror caused by Nimue the Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) has gone on long enough and tries to stop her. It's unclear if Ganeida ultimately joins forces with Hellboy (David Harbour) and his team of paranormal investigators to take down this medieval sorceress, but it seems likely. The Ganeida character had a similar arc in the 2011 comic Hellboy: The Fury, so it's possible that this movie could be a directly adapted of that comic, or that parts of the comic could be used for this story.
Penelope Mitchell joins a cast that also includes Ian McShane as Professor Broom, a role originally played by John Hurt in the first two Hellboy movies, with Sasha Lane playing Alice Monaghan, who will be Hellboy's love interest. There have also been reports that the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) will be prominently featured in this story, with other characters appearing such as Abe Sapien, portrayed by Doug Jones in the first two movies, Babe Yaga the Witch along with King Arthur and Merlin. With the cast coming together rather quickly, we may hear who will be playing these remaining characters sooner rather than later.
Star David Harbour also confirmed this month that this Hellboy reboot will not be an origin story, stating that there are some origin elements but they pick up the movie "running and gunning." The actor compared their approach to the story to the first Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, where fans don't exactly get a concrete explanation of how he became Indiana Jones. There have been reports that production is expected to start next month, although Lionsgate has not issued a release date at this time. Still, the project is moving forward quite quickly, since the reboot was announced just this past May, with filming now about to begin.
Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday) is directing this R-rated Hellboy reboot from a script by Andrew Crosby, Christopher Golden and original comic book creator Mike Mignola. No release date has been given by Lionsgate yet, but it's possible this movie could be ready for a fall 2018 release, if production is in fact beginning next month. Penelope Mitchell is best known for playing Letha Godfrey on Netflix's Hemlock Grove and Liv Parker on The CW's The Vampire Diaries. She currently two movies in post-production, Gnaw with Sally Kirkland and Look Away with Jason Isaacs, with Between Worlds, starring Nicolas Cage and Franka Potente, in pre-production. Hopefully we'll have more on this Hellboy reboot very soon.